Since the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the healthcare landscape, providers from all specialties have turned to telehealth as a way to offer their patients with the care they need during this trying time. Applications like Zoom, eVisit, and Doxymity have made virtual care more easily accessible, but it’s important to remember some tricks of the trade to make sure that your patients have the best experience possible.
You’re not only their doctor, but now you’re also a camera operator, sound technician, IT specialist, and lighting guru. Not sure what we’re talking about? Well, good thing we’ve assembled a group of physicians to show you some of the do’s and don’ts when providing virtual care.
Watch the video below or take a look at some of their tips to learn how to give your patients the best virtual care experience you can.
Do limit disruptions
As many of us have transitioned to working from home, there are now new disruptions to contend with. Though barking dogs, interrupting children, and ringing cell phones may be perfectly acceptable most of the day, do your best to limit these disruptions during telehealth visits. By giving your undivided attention, your patients will feel more at ease and confident with your care.
Don’t compromise privacy
Though the technology itself may be HIPAA-compliant, it’s important your personal environment is as well. To ensure your patient’s privacy during a virtual visit, choose a quiet and private room free from potential eavesdroppers and prying eyes.
Do make sure your internet connection is strong
There’s nothing more frustrating than being in the middle of a very important conversation when the connection drops. If there are dead spots in your home or office, avoid those areas during telehealth visits. Having a crystal-clear conversation on either end of the call will ensure that your patients receive the care they need.
Don’t move your camera around too much
Mobile technology is great for just that; it’s mobile. However, walking around your house or office during a telehealth visit can ultimately leave your patient with a bit of vertigo. Before starting, find a stable and comfortable place to sit for the entire duration of the visit.
Do maintain an image of professionalism
Settling into a work-from-home lifestyle certainly has some perks, but maintaining your image as a medical professional, both in your outwardly appearance and mannerisms, is just as important as before in order to maintain trust with your patients. During virtual visits, pay attention to your wardrobe and your actions, such as maintaining eye contact and over-communicating what you’re doing and why.
Do pay attention to what’s in your background
As we settle into comfortable workspaces at our homes, it’s important to do a quick scan of the background your patients will see during telehealth visits before hopping on the call. Unmade beds, bottles of wine, or lamps seemingly growing out of your head will distract your patient and can portray an unprofessional image.
Don’t forget about proper lighting
Smiling, eye contact, and other facial expressions show empathy during a virtual visit, but only if they’re able to be seen. Having proper lighting is just as important as in the movies. Whether it’s from a lamp or natural light from a window, your light source should be in front of you instead of behind.
Don’t put your camera too close to your face
A virtual visit is not the time to get up close and personal with patients. Hold your device away from and directly in front of your face so as to avoid any unsightly views.
Don’t forget to show empathy
Meeting with someone over video can seem less welcoming and colder than an in-person meeting. Continue to show empathy through verbal and non-verbal methods. A warm smile and a calming voice can go a long way for someone dealing with a stressful incident.
Here's an example of what a great virtual care experience looks like: